Album Reviews

Albert Hammond, Jr.

Momentary Masters

Artist:     Albert Hammond, Jr.

Album:     Momentary Masters

Label:     Vagrant

Release Date:     07/31/2015


Albert Hammond, Jr. is my favorite member of one of my favorite bands ever: the Strokes. All of the band members’ various side projects have their merits, but it’s the solo work of guitarist Albert Hamond Jr. that, for the most part, can stand up to the music of his band. Momentary Masters, his new record, sounds like it could have followed the Strokes’ Room On Fire, aka the one before they decided to do anything they could to not sound like the Strokes (with mixed results). Hammond’s first two records had some strong folk vibes and Beatles overtones in addition to the familiar angular Television guitars and laconic vocals of his band, but here it’s as if he decided to make up for their decided lack of Stroke-iness tenfold.

Momentary Masters is the first record Hammond has worked on with a backing band instead of session musicians and the music feels impeccably arranged with tight guitar parts and locked-in grooves. Hammond’s knack for melody is on display throughout, especially on the anthemic single “Losing Touch” and the hilariously titled “Side Boob” (the lyrics bafflingly make no reference to its namesake). Absurdly cool guitar lines carry every song when the lyrics don’t, like the awkward “two wrongs don’t make a right/three rights make a left” in “Caught by My Shadow.” The centerpiece of the record is a bouncy, laidback cover of Dylan’s classic “Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright)” despite it using a guitar part curiously similar to “Losing Touch” (its predecessor on the album). While he’s yet to make an out and out classic like his band’s debut record, Hammond has accomplished something rare for a guitarist’s solo career: you never listen to him and think “Man, I wish I was listening to the Strokes.”

—Layne Montgomery

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